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Official Review by Michael Rusignuolo, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Like its sister stadium in nearby Batavia, Leo Pinckney Field at Falcon Park is a new ballpark built on a historic site of professional baseball. The original Falcon Field was constructed in 1927, and the newest version was opened in 1995 and seats 2,800. The park is named for an old social group (the Polish Falcons), and Leo Pinckney, an august local sports writer, "King of Baseball" award winner, and a crucial figure in securing a minor league team for his home town of Auburn. Falcon Park is currently the home of the Auburn Doubledays, the short season, single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, as well as the local high school teams of the Auburn Maroons. In an out-of-the-ordinary twist, both the park and the franchise are owned by a non-profit group run by the city of Auburn itself.
While it won't confuse anyone with a game in New York City, this New York franchise offers an enjoyable, cheap, and family friendly option to catch a baseball game with the stars of the future.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Although a low minor league stadium, Falcon Park has a good selection of food and drink available. The main concessions are located in the outer promenade opposite the season ticket entrance to the park. The main concession sells stadium standards like hot dogs, burgers, and chicken, along with sandwiches and salads, for the more health conscious. A separate booth sells treats from candy bars to popcorn. A nice touch is a small concession stand in the grandstand that offers candy and hot dogs for sale for those who don't want to miss the action.
The choice of the park grub is The Patio BBQ stand behind first base. With the smoker out front, you can hardly miss it. It serves up BBQ chicken, Kansas City Ribs, Pulled Pork, and BBQ shrimp, all with "delta bread" and mac and cheese sides included. The menu items here are pricier than at the main concession, but you definitely get what you pay for.
Suds are available at the "Daaa Beeeers!" stand, The Patio by first, and the Buffalo Wild Wings Party Deck in left. Twenty-ounce Buds run $5.50, 20 oz craft drafts (LaBatt/Coors) goes for $7, 12 oz cans for $3.75, and 24 ouncers for $7. There is also 1911 Cider available at The Patio.
Falcon Park is split into two main areas; the grandstands behind home plate, and bleacher seats extending out to about first and third bases on each side. There is a picnic area by the home bullpen and clubhouse in left field, and the Buffalo Wild Wings Party Deck by the visiting bullpen and clubhouse in right.
The park underwent some recent renovations. A scoreboard from a less-recent renovation sits in center field to keep fans up on the action, and the playing field and sound system underwent an upgrade during the 2014 offseason, levelling of the outfield and getting new waterproof speakers for clear game announcements to the entire park.
The only cover is the grandstand seats behind home plate, topped with the press box. The main gate by third base opens an hour before game time, and the season ticket gate to the right of the ticket office opens slightly before then. Home autograph seekers will want to get seats by the home third base dugout.
Mascot Abner is perhaps one of the most unique in all of baseball: an old-timey mustachioed representation of Abner Doubleday, mythical inventor of the All-American sport. Abner and the fan relations team run the between-inning entertainment full of minor league standards of races, contests, and quizzes.
Falcon Park is located next to Casey Park and Recreation Center in a distinctly suburban environment. The town has several historic attractions, including the Seward House and Harriet Tubman House, not to mention several Finger Lakes in the region, as well as the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. As with many old towns, a vigorous art community has sprouted up in the historic district and can be seen around every corner. The Auburn Public Theater hosts a Summer Musical Theater Festival, and several theater and dance programs are available throughout the year.
A good deal of hotels are located in downtown Auburn, including chains Days Inn, Budget Inn, Hilton Garden, Super 8, and Holiday Inn, and independents like the Astoria Hotel and the Inn at the Finger Lakes.
Food and drinks are served up at Swifty's Tavern, Costello's, Sunset Restaurant, and Bambino's Bistro. Perhaps the pick of the litter just for the experience is Hunter's Dinerant, an old-school downtown diner overhanging the Owasco River that runs through the center of town.
You can wonder if a small town can support a baseball team, but Auburn seems to be doing a-okay. Respectable crowds fill up most of the stands with families and local boosters, along with a smattering of visiting fans thanks to the close proximity of many of the Western NY teams. They perhaps aren't baseball die-hards, but they stay involved with the game and support the on-field game.
Auburn is located a middling detour off of the New York Thruway (I-90), via state roads 20 or 34, and it is also served by NY-20. Parking is free via a large parking lot across the street. Keep an eye on little ones looking for foul ball souvenirs behind home plate. North Division Road is an active street, and signs warn against chasing fouls into the traffic. It is under an hour drive to Syracuse, an hour to Rochester, two hours to Buffalo, under three to Albany, and 3.5 hours to Toronto. For public transportation, the CENRTO Auburn buses Route 4 Casey Park stop ($1) serves the park.
In a common design, an inner seating walkway splits the box seats below from the general admission seats above. In the outer ring of the park, a wider concourse runs from outfield to outfield around the field to move the crowds around from the main entrance near third base.
As with most minor league baseball, you get a lot for your dollar. Box seats are $8, and general admission tickets to the bleachers are $6. Period. You can further push that price down with Flex Plans for 10 game vouchers that lower the cost per seat for box seats to $7 and GA seats to $5, as do season ticket plans for $235 for box seats and $165 for GA. Group outings to the party tents for 10 or more people are $9 per person with all-you-can-eat food.
The food is more hit and miss on pricing. Many of the options are far below $5, but some items top $7 or even $10 (at The Patio). Beer is a steal for the fanciest 20 oz beers going for $7 and cans of the cheap stuff running $3.75.
Falcon Park is appreciative of its community and history, and it has a great deal of memorials around the park. The standard park dedication plaques and construction donors are on the outer wall of the park, but the main entrance gate also holds a number a memorials to individuals, including Bill Graney, Jr. (former GM), Thomas J. Poole (baseball instructor), Pat Penafeather (groundskeeper), Dr. Thomas Stapleton (team and league executive), Leo A. Pinckney ("Mr. Baseball," local journalist), as well as the booster club. In a touching tribute to the fans themselves, there are two tributes to three fans in the grandstand section (no doubt near to where they used to sit) for Ann Caci, Naomi Fletcher, and Anne Tarby. A championship street sign is found on North Division Road in front of the park.
A trailer by the main entrance houses "Abner's Depot" team store (next to Abner's House, where he emerges to greet fans before each game), and a small kids area is found in right field. Programs are sold at a booth near the main entrance for $2, and include a scorecard.
Falcon Park offers a solid and thrifty baseball experience for families and baseball fans alike.
Member Review by akulyk on Sep 17, 2012
Auburn, New York, located upstate in the Finger Lakes region, has been a host city to the New York Penn League since 1958. The team has almost had as many different nicknames as there are years. Since 1996, the team has been known as the Auburn Doubledays, saluting the great Abner Doubleday. The team has been playing at Falcon Park, a ballpark which has been in existence since 1927, but was demolished and totally rebuilt following the 1994 season.
105 Genesse St
Auburn, NY 13021
45 Perrine St
Auburn, NY 13021
33 South St
Auburn, NY 13021
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